For this post I asked Mark Poter at Waldemar Jewellers to offer his advice and expertise on diamonds. Mark Poter is a business colleague of mine and a very trusted jeweller that I personally selected to design and make my engagement ring.
Here is what Mark had to say:
“Getting engaged is a very exciting time and getting the right ring can be a bit of a strain unless you know what things to look out for. Hopefully this information will give you an insight into what you need to know when buying an engagement ring or any ring.
When you’re buying an engagement ring you must consider a few factors such as the diamond cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. These are called the four C’s and they play a major part on how good the ring looks.
C for Cut
A diamond will shine and have more life if it has a good cut. However, the cut not only refers to the diamond’s shape, but more importantly its proportions. A well-proportioned diamond brings out the maximum beauty.
Diamonds that are cut too deep or too shallow lose light through the side or the bottom, resulting in loss of brilliance.
C for Colour
A diamond’s body colour (from colourless to yellow) is determined by the Gemmological Institute of America’s colour scale. Like the other four C’s, colour is a matter of preference. Some people insist on colourless diamonds for their breathtaking purity and radiance, while others prefer slightly yellow diamonds for a warmer look.
What causes different diamond colours? The answer is chemistry. A diamond is made up of pure carbon. During its development, other natural elements may be incorporated into the carbon, causing a chemical reaction that changes the colour. For instance, traces of nitrogen cause yellow diamonds, while boron gives diamonds a blue colour.
Over time, diamonds will never change colour, but a diamond’s setting can often influence its appearance. A yellow gold setting makes a light yellow diamond appear whiter. Platinum and white gold settings, however, may make the yellow hue in a diamond more apparent. Similarly, a colourless diamond set in yellow gold may reflect the setting’s yellow tint.
Fancy colour diamonds fall into the Z+ category. These diamonds include colours such as yellow, blue, violet, orange, pink and red – the most rare. Diamonds of this type are very unusual and therefore highly valued.
C for Clarity
Every diamond is unique and one reason for this is clarity. Clarity measures the flawlessness of a diamond. Diamonds have natural marks that vary in size, shape, position, quantity and colour. Internal marks are called inclusions, while those found on the external surface of a diamond are known as blemishes. Inclusions and blemishes are very common.
There are several causes for inclusions and blemishes. During diamond growth, minerals can be trapped inside the stone, causing discolouration or breakage. Blemishes can also develop during the cutting, polishing and setting processes.
Though nearly all diamonds have inclusions and blemishes, the most prized diamonds are flawless. Light is able to pass through uninterrupted in a flawless diamond, resulting in a beautiful sparkle.
Even diamonds with inclusions and blemishes can be among the most beautiful, especially those with good colour and cut. Many inclusions are difficult to see with the naked eye, and some may be minimized by the setting you choose.
C for Carat Weight
A carat is a unit of measure for diamond weight and is evaluated on a point system. One carat is equivalent to 100 points; a half-carat diamond is fifty points and so on. One carat also equals 200 milligrams, and 142 carats equals one ounce.
Although diamonds come in many weights, one carat diamonds are found in nature less often than smaller diamonds and are therefore much more expensive. For this reason, a one-carat diamond costs far more than two half-carat diamonds of the same cut, colour and clarity.
When choosing the right carat weight, you must take several factors into account. Remember that any diamond will look bigger when worn on a small hand. And, the type of setting can affect a diamond’s appearance.
I hope this information has been helpful and you feel more confident about what to look out for when buying a diamond for your engagement ring. My next entry will be comparing the differences between precious metals such as 18ct White Gold and Platinum. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help.”